Zurich, January 30 – 31, 2015

From the mid-eighteenth century through to the present day, architecture has been repeatedly imagined, defined or designed as a machine. While a strongly deterministic reading – as in “machine for living”– has held sway ever since the term was coined in the 1920s, usage of the machine concept actually needs to be understood in a much broader sense. Describing architecture as a machine has in various epochs and in the light of changing technologies always also implied paying attention to its performative properties in the context of certain processes and procedures, ranging from design to construction and use. Such performative properties may manifest themselves in spatial dimensions or contexts, in technical apparatus, or in other physical conditions. What distinguishes the concept of architecture-as-machine – considered from a genealogical perspective and independently of its various semantic nuances – is that the respective requirements of any architectural program can be individually thematized and hence also individually planned. The ‘machinic’ of the architecture/machine accordingly implies not merely a context of production or a normative mechanism but, primarily and fundamentally, a relationship between the architectural object and the processes it involves.

The conference examines the history of the architecture/machine from the mid-eighteenth century to the present day in the light of the above. It focuses not necessarily on literal machine metaphors but generally on historical instances of discursive or material articulation that formulate a relationship between architecture and machines. The conference contributions will be pursuing this theme through analyses of concrete buildings, spaces, devices, or apparatus, respectively the ways in which these are represented or described.



09:00 Welcome & Coffee

09:30-10:00 Laurent Stalder: Introduction


Panel 1: Flow, Chair: Martino Stierli

10:00-10:30 Moritz Gleich: Équipements

10:30-11:00 Julian Jachmann: Water/Space

11:00-11:30 Dustin R. Valen: Indoor Environments

11:30-12:00 Discussion

12.00-14:00 Lunch Break


Panel 2: (Dis-)Connection, Chair: Martino Stierli

14:00-14:30 Daniel Gethmann: Walls

14:30-15:00 John Harwood: Wires

15:00-15:30 Michael Osman: Steel

15:30-16:00 Discussion

16:00-16:30 Coffee Break


Panel 3: Delegation, Chair: Ita Heinze-Greenberg

16:30-17:00 Reinhold Martin: Personhood

17:00-17:30 Martin Bressani: Prothèse

17:30-18:00 Monika Dommann: Trading Pit

18:00-18:30 Discussion

18:30 Aperitif



09:30 Welcome & Coffee

Panel 4: Transmission, Chair: Ita Heinze-Greenberg

10:00-10:30 Susanne Jany: Gleichstrom

10:30-11:00 Florian Sprenger: Electricity

11:00-11:30 Carlotta Darò: Sound Conduits

11:30-12:00 Discussion

12.00-14:00 Lunch Break


Panel 5: Normalisation, Chair: Stanislaus von Moos

14:00-14:30 Kijan Espahangizi: Glass

14:30-15:00 Sabine von Fischer: Tapping Machine

15:00-15:30 Spyros Papapetros: Ornament Machine

15:30-16:00 Discussion

16:00-16:30 Coffee Break


Panel 6: Environment, Chair: Stanislaus von Moos

16:30-17:00 Daniel Barber: Thermoheliodon

17:00-17:30 Alessandra Ponte: Windscreen

17:30-18:00 Molly Steenson: Mesoscale

18:00-18:30 Discussion


Venue: ETH Zurich, Zentrum, Clausiusstr. 59, RZ F21

Organisation: Department of Architecture Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture

Chair for the Theory of Architecture, Dr. Laurent Stalder, Moritz Gleich


Contact: moritz.gleich@gta.arch.ethz.ch

Reference / Quellennachweis: CONF: Architecture/Machine (Zurich, 30-31 Jan 15). In: H-ArtHist, Dec 18, 2014. <http://arthist.net/archive/9138>


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